This article discusses the ending of the Netflix film Monster (2021), so it will contain major spoilers.
Netflix’s Monster was filmed almost five years ago and has been shelved since its Sundance premiere in January 2018. It changed with a couple of different studios and finally ended up at Netflix, delayed because of the pandemic. Originally titled after its source material, it was retitled All Rise and then back to Monster. It tells the story of Steve Harmon (Luce’s Kelvin Harrison Jr), by all accounts a young man who comes from a good home (parents played by Jeffrey Wright and Jennifer Hudson) and a star student.
But he is accused of being a lookout for a robbery gone horribly wrong with three other people (played by John David Washington, Jrharrel Jerome, and A$AP Rocky) and is standing trial for murder. The film attempts to show the grey area of various levels of the law in a black and white world. So, did Steve have anything to do with the murder?
Netflix’s Monster (2021) ending explained
Steve and his friend, William King (A$AP Rocky), are standing trial for the murder of a corner store grocery store owner. The two couldn’t be more different but share a love of movies. As they both stand to hear the jury’s verdict, King’s fate is revealed first. He is found guilty of murder. Though, King is gang-affiliated, does that make him any more of a monster than Steve? As he watches his friend being escorted out of the courtroom, we flashback to that day in question. Steve is riding his bike home from school when King and Bobo (Washington) stop him. King asks Steve to go inside the store to see if anyone is in there, like the cops.
At first, Steve refuses and King and Bobo are immediately intimidating towards him. They take his bike away from him and tell him not to worry, they will take good care of it. As Steve takes the most regretful steps towards that corner market of his life, he sees Osvaldo (Jerome) a hundred feet away as the lookout. Steve walks in and grabs a cream soda as he checks the store out. There are no customers in the shop, let alone the police. The owner is nice to him, even cordial. Skeptical about his kindness and what he should do when he steps out from the store and into the light, he walks away pondering the situation.
When Steve steps outside, the light and shadows hit just right. He does what he has been doing for the entire film, holding up his hand to the sun to see if it’s the perfect light to keep shooting the videos he has been making his entire life. A bystander who sees him, later thinks it must have been a signal that the coast was clear. King and Bobo take it as a sign that he is telling them the coast is clear.
Either way, Steve could have walked away before entering the store. He could have lied to his so-called “friends” but he walked towards them, presumably to get his bike, and told them there was a guard inside. Steve, though, did not. He didn’t plan on the robbery. All he did was walk in to check if the coast was clear. We don’t even really know what he told them or whether he knew what their plans were. It’s all a grey area.
When the verdict comes back, Steve is acquitted of all charges. While we said it’s all a grey area, we do not know exactly what role Steve played and if it was confirmed for King and Bobo and he told them the coast was clear. All we know is the color of his skin, just like the district attorney who said, “He looks the part to me.” Do not let your preconceived notions of what probably happened cloud your judgment of the facts. There is no evidence that Steve had any role in the robbery that led to the murder of that man. He is given a judgment of not guilty.
That’s the ending explained for Netflix’s Monster (2021) — any thoughts on the film? Comment below.